The Evidence for Jesus
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Yet, he says, historians reconstruct with confidence the course of Roman and Greek history. The fabulous legends about Alexander the Great did not develop until during the centuries after these two writers. According to Sherwin-White, the writings of Herodotus enable us to determine the rate at which legend accumulates, and the tests show that even two generations is too short a time span to allow legendary tendencies to wipe out the hard core of historical facts.
When Professor Sherwin-White turns to the gospels, he states that for the gospels to be legends, the rate of legendary accumulation would have to be "unbelievable. These do contain all sorts of fabulous stories about Jesus, trying to fill in the years between his boyhood and his starting his ministry, for example. These are the obvious legends sought by the critics, not the biblical gospels. Rather Mark used a source for this narrative.
Historicity of Jesus
Since Mark is the earliest gospel, his source must be even earlier. Or again, Paul in his letters hands on information concerning Jesus about his teaching, his Last Supper, his betrayal, crucifixion, burial, and resurrection appearances. It just becomes irresponsible to speak of legends in such cases. The Gospel writers have a proven track record of historical reliability. Again I only have time to look at one example: Luke.
Evidence for the historical existence of Jesus Christ
Luke was the author of a two-part work: the Gospel of Luke and the Acts of the Apostles. These are really one work and are separated in our Bibles only because the church grouped the gospels together in the New Testament. Luke is the gospel writer who writes most self-consciously as an historian. In the preface to this work he writes:.
Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the things which have been accomplished among us, just as they were delivered to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word, it seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, that you may know the truth concerning the things of which you have been informed.
This preface is written in classical Greek terminology such as was used by Greek historians; after this Luke switches to a more common Greek. But he has put his reader on alert that he can write, should he wish to, like the learned historian. Now who was this author we call Luke? But we discover an important fact about him from the book of Acts. Beginning in the sixteenth chapter of Acts, when Paul reaches Troas in modern-day Turkey, the author suddenly starts using the first-person plural: "we set sail from Troas to Samothrace," "we remained in Philippi some days," "as we were going to the place of prayer," etc.
The most obvious explanation is that the author had joined Paul on his evangelistic tour of the Mediterranean cities. In chapter 21 he accompanies Paul back to Palestine and finally to Jerusalem. Sceptical critics have done back-flips to try to avoid this conclusion. The more important point is that this theory, when you check it out, turns out to be sheer fantasy.
Who were some of these eyewitnesses? Perhaps we can get some clue by subtracting from the Gospel of Luke everything found in the other gospels and seeing what is peculiar to Luke.
The Bible Says Jesus Was Real. What Other Proof Exists? - HISTORY
Was the author reliable in getting the facts straight? The book of Acts enables us to answer that question decisively. The book of Acts overlaps significantly with secular history of the ancient world, and the historical accuracy of Acts is indisputable.
Any attempt to reject its basic historicity even in matters of detail must now appear absurd. This author should be placed along with the very greatest of historians. On the basis of the five reasons I listed, we are justified in accepting the historical reliability of what the gospels say about Jesus unless they are proven to be wrong. At the very least, we cannot assume they are wrong until proven right. Now by the very nature of the case, it will be impossible to say a whole lot more beyond this to prove that certain stories in the gospels are historically true.
You just have here a story told by a reliable author in a position to know and no reason to doubt the historicity of the story.
Nevertheless, for many of the key events in the gospels, a great deal more can be said. Radical critics deny that the historical Jesus thought of himself as the divine Son of God. The big problem with this hypothesis is that it is inexplicable how monotheistic Jews could have attributed divinity to a man they had known, if he never claimed any such things himself.
Monotheism is the heart of the Jewish religion, and it would have been blasphemous to say that a human being was God.
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Yet this is precisely what the earliest Christians did proclaim and believe about Jesus. And in fact, the majority of scholars do believe that among the historically authentic words of Jesus—these are the words in the gospels which the Jesus Seminar would print in red—among the historically authentic words of Jesus are claims that reveal his divine self-understanding.
Even sceptical scholars admit the authenticity of this parable, since it is also found in the Gospel of Thomas, one of their favorite sources. In this parable, the owner of the vineyard sent servants to the tenants of the vineyard to collect its fruit. The vineyard symbolizes Israel, the owner is God, the tenants are the Jewish religious leaders, and the servants are prophets send by God. Finally, the owner says, "I will send my only, beloved son.
They will listen to my son. This is no mere Jewish peasant!
Did Jesus Exist? Searching for Evidence Beyond the Bible
In "The Case for Christ," Strobel reviewed the medical evidence for Jesus' death on the cross with physician and research scientist Alexander Metherell, who concluded the idea that Jesus didn't actually die on the cross is "a fanciful theory without any possible basis in fact. After listening to straight hours of eyewitness testimony, who could possibly walk away unconvinced? This data is interlocking since one piece of the data without the others would not provide a good case.
After all, given the non-Christian's worldview, they will look at even the 'fact' of the resurrection within their overall worldview. Because of the resurrection, all humanity will be judged by Jesus Christ. The resurrection is not a strange or isolated event which has no intelligible links to the past and no relationship to the future," Wellum said. It is not an accident of nature, but the result of God's plan, purposes and intention. Operating from a central bureau in Nashville, Tenn.
Toggle navigation. Certain laws of evidence hold in the establishment of any historic event. Documentation of the event in question must be made by reliable contemporary witnesses. There is more evidence that Jesus rose from the dead than there is that Julius Caesar ever lived, or that Alexander the Great died at the age of It is strange that historians will accept thousands of facts for which they can produce only shreds of evidence. But in the face of the overwhelming evidence of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, they cast a skeptical eye and hold intellectual doubts.